Saturday, February 28, 2009

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Amazing and simple! Improvised it and loved it-

Take as many carrots as you want, peel them and slice them into rounds which are about a 1/4 inch thick.  Boil them until they are al dente (tender but still with a bite).  While they are boiling mix olive oil, lemon juice, ginger power, fresh finely chopped garlic (only a little), lots of cumin, lots of salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper. Drain carrots and chill quickly (with ice, in the freezer, under cold running water, etc) and mix with dressing.  Mix in some chopped parsley if you want for garnish, color, etc.

Red Wine Pear & Plum Tart with Walnut Crust

This recipe was created by me and got great reviews from both my roommates and my book club.

2 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar
12 T cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk

2/3 cup cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
1/2 cup sugar
1 T grated lemon rind or 1.5 T lemon juice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice
1 lb plums, prune or red plums, each cut into 6 thick slices*
1 lb pears, preferably Bosc pears, cored and thinly sliced*

* you can also use all plums or all pears - you could even try apples or another firm fruit

To prepare filling, combine wine and granulated sugar in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium. Add lemon rind or juice, cinnamon, allspice, and fruit to pan, stirring to coat; simmer for 15 minutes or until the fruit is tender.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make the crust, combine flour, walnuts, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix, either by hand (using your fingertips) or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.

Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Spoon fruit mixture onto crust, draining off the liquid as you go (you don't want the tart to be soggy). Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the fruit.

Bake the tart for 40 or 50 minutes, or until it's lightly browned and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer the tart to a flat plate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Matzoh balls

Matzoh balls
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 balls

3 eggs
4 T schmaltz or oil
4 T ice cold seltzer water (or cold flat water)
1 C matzoh meal (from box or from matzohs)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 qt chicken broth (store bought, or water with chicken bullion, or just water with 1 t salt)

Separate eggs
Mix all ingredients except egg whites and put into refrigerator
Beat egg whites until peaks form
Retrieve mixture and fold in eggs whites gently
Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour

Matzoh balls expand as they cook, so choose a pot large enough to allow for expansion
Fill pot with broth and bring to a boil
Using 2 soup spoons, form balls gently to 3/4" diameter
Gently drop into boiling broth
Keep flame high because each new ball will cool the pot
Once all the balls are in cover the pot
Once it boils, lower the flame to keep it simmering
Cook for 30 min, or until the largest ball is done
Turn off the flame, keep the pot covered and let it cool for 10 min.

If storing, drain the liquid and store the balls in the refrigerator for up to 4 days

If using immediately, don't use the liquid in the soup
Add the balls to the soup no more than 15 min before serving or else the balls will come apart

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rosemary or Parmesan Cream Crackers

This recipe is from the New York Times (Mark Bittman). I made them for a dinner party at Deb's house in Minneapolis. They're really easy and it's definitely a treat to have homemade crackers!

1 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
4 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream, half and half, or whole milk, more as needed
Coarse salt
Rosemary (optional - you can also use pepper, sesame seeds, minced garlic, etc.)

1. Heat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese (if using), and butter in bowl of food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add cream/half and half/milk and let machine run for a bit. Continue to add liqud a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. Transfer sheet of dough to prepared baking sheet (drape it over rolling pin to make it easier). Score lightly with a sharp knife or pizza cutter into squares or rectangles. Sprinkle with salt and/or other topping.
3. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin for a few days.

Yield: About 16 crackers

Friday, February 13, 2009


per elana's request:

sprouting setup: use a wide-mouth jar of any side with a piece of mesh or cheesecloth stretched over the mouth, secured with a rubber band.

1. fill jar 1/4 way full with whole grains and cover with water. (when grains begin to sprout, they expand)
2. soak for 8-24 hours.
3. drain and discard water
4. rinse the sprouts with fresh water at least twice a day; more often if you think of it. the aim is to keep the sprouts from drying out or molding.
5. you'll know the grains have germinated when you see little tails emerging from them. use them (or dry them) within 2-3 days of germination for maximum sweetness/awesomeness. be sure to keep rinsing the sprouts a least twice a day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mom's Ten Basic Car Snack Rules

1. Good to eat but not too irresistible
2. Not too crumbly
3. Not too mushy
4. Must be a bit special
5. What you take for a snack for your first road trip immediately becomes a tradition, so choose something you'll like for many more car trips
6. Doesn't melt
7. Doesn't cause gas
8. Doesn't cause constipation
9. Won't get too gross if you forget about it and it stays in car for multiple days
10. NEVER get yourself in a situation where you have to purchase snacks on the road.

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup

A staple in our Somerville apartment, 2007-2008.

1/4 c olive oil
1 large onion, medium diced
6-8 cloves garlic, pressed
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cumin
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1 t sweet paprika
1 (14.5-oz) can chopped tomatoes
3 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 quart vegetable broth or chicken broth
1 t sugar
salt & pepper
1 (5-oz) package pre-washed baby spinach

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur. Add spices and saute a minute or so.
2. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.
3. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes. Season again, to taste with salt and pepper. Ellie likes to add raisins at this point, but I'm not really a big raisin person - your call.

Tortilla Soup

This is a delicious recipe from my Texan friend, Laura Gilbert.

3 chicken breasts
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups of chicken broth
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 lime
2 cans tomatoes with green chilies
Monterey jack cheese, grated
Tortilla chips
1 avocado

Cut raw chicken into bite-size pieces and cook on the stove. Set chicken aside, leaving grease in pan. Chop celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and saute in left-over chicken grease (mmm) and olive oil. Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add chili powder, lemon pepper, cumin, lime juice, and tomatoes. Add chicken and veggies. Simmer all for 20 minutes.

To serve: Crush tortilla chips in bottom of bowl. Add soup and top with avocado slices and grated cheese.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Farmgirl's Mexican Monkey Cake

This yummy cake comes from one of my favorite food blogs:

Makes One 8-Inch Square Cake

1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) butter, softened (or 1/2 cup trans-fat free margarine, such as Earth Balance)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (they cannot be too ripe)
2 Tablespoons yogurt or sour cream
1 Tablespoon milk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a glass pan such as Pyrex). Grease an 8"x8"x2" baking pan. In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts (if desired), and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer until fluffy (I use a hand held mixer). Add bananas, yogurt, and milk, and mix well. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt just until blended.

Spread slightly more than half of the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon streusel. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the streusel and then top with the rest of the streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This cake tastes even better the next day, and it freezes beautifully. You can freeze the cake whole or cut it into pieces, wrap them tightly in plastic, and place them in a zipper freezer bag. Defrost at room temperature--or in the microwave.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cooking Times for Grains

For 1 C of the following grains.

Bring water or stock to boil, add grains, return to boil, then simmer covered for listed amount of time. Fluff. Pre-soaking grains can expedite the cooking time.

Grain: # of Cups of water + # of minutes cooking time = total once cooked

Amaranth: 2-3 + 20-25 = 2 1/2 C
Millet: 2-3 + 35-40 = 3 1/2 C
Cornmeal: 4 + 25-30= 3 C
Steel Cut Oats: 4 + 40-45 = 3 C
Quinoa: 2 + 15-20 = 3 1/2 C
Wheat Berries: 3 1/2 + 50-55 = 2 1/2 C
Bulgar: 2 C, turn off heat and steam for 30 minutes = 2 1/2 C
Couscous: 2 C, turn off heat and steam for 15 min = 3 C
Cracked Wheat: 3 + 35-40m = 2 1/2 c

Way Good Tomatillo Salsa

From farmer at the Bennington (VT) farmer's market, Summer 2006.

1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
1-2 jalapeƱos (they recommend True Love JalapeƱos)
3 garlic cloves

Broil the above ingredients for 7 minutes, until beginning to char.

Blend, or use a food processor, with the remaining ingredients:
1 C cilantro
1 onion
2 t coarse salt

Robust Chocolate Veganry (aka best chocolate cake)

A staple cake from 3D 2007. Don't be fooled/turned off by the fact that this cake can be vegan. Its the moistest chocolate cake I know.

2 C brown sugar
1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 t salt
3/4 C cocoa
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 C milk (soy/rice/dairy, can be chocolate0
1/2 C oil
2 t vanilla
1 C boiling water

Mix and stir in boiling water. Bake 35 minutes at 350.

Martha Knows her Shit!: Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.

beat together:
1 stick butter/soy garden
1 T fresh ginger, chopped finely
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C molasses

dissolve 1 t baking soda in to 1 1/2 t boiling water and add to butter mixture.

mix in:
1 1/2 C + 1 T flour (spelt even works nicely!)
1 1/4 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
1 T cocoa powder

dough will be softy stift. add 7 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped. Roll into balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 350 for not very long.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

These come from my friend Dara - the recipe won a brownie bake-off a few months ago!

1 T unsalted butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 c canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1 t vanilla extract
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t ground ginger
1 T flour

5½ oz good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 eggs, at room temperature
1½ c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
¼ t salt
1 1/3 c flour

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch baking dish.

2. Prepare pumpkin batter: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with cream cheese until smooth. Beat in sugar, scraping bowl occasionally. Bet in egg, then add pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in flour.

3. Prepare chocolate batter: Combine semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set bowl over saucepan with 1-inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, combine eggs with sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat at low speed until light and fluffy- about 4 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in melted chocolate. Sift flour over the batter and fold it in just until combined.

4. Spread chocolate batter evenly in prepared pan. Using a Tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter slightly into the chocolate.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (starting checking on brownies at 30 minutes to see if they're done- a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean).

6. Let brownies cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 24 brownies

Tom Yum Goong soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 qt chicken broth
1 qt water
2 stalks lemongrass (defrost by microwaving 45 sec per stalk), bottom 2" minced,
rest sliced on a bias in 4-inch pieces
1 cubic inch galangal ("kah", or substitute ginger) sliced (defrost in microwave
for 30 sec)
4 kaffir lime leaves
2.5 t roasted red chili paste (1.5 T for BJB taste)
1/2 c fish sauce
2 T tamarind sauce (2T tamarind paste chopped, 2t sugar, 4T soup stock, mix well)
8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained
16 oz can straw mushrooms, drained, halved and rinsed
1/2 lb (14) jumbo sized frozen uncooked shrimp, peeled with tail
2 limes, juiced
2 green onions, sliced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 T salt

Bring the stock & water to boil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the lemongrass,
galangal, keffir leaves,chili paste, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms. Cover, lower
heat, and simmer for 15 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.

Uncover and add the fish sauce and tamarind sauce, simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove lemongrass, then toss in shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes or until shrimp
is cooked.

Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, green onions, salt & cilantro.

Taste, broth should have an equal balance of spicy, salty, and sour.

Thai Red Curry Vegetables

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 mains servings

2 T peanut, olive, or canola oil
1 stalk lemongrass (if frozen nuke for 45 sec)
1" x 1" x 1/2" of ginger (don't use galangal)
1.5 T Thai red curry paste
1/2 c white wine
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 T fish sauce (nam pla)
1 lime
4 T chopped fresh cilantro (stems & leaves)
4 T chopped Thai basil or Italian basil leaves
1/2 c fresh or frozen peas
3 c of diced vegetables (any combination of potatoes, cauliflower, raw cabbage,
onion, celery, carrots)
Meat, if desired

Vegetables can either be sauteed (potatoes & cauliflower won't saute well) or boiled
ahead of time (and set aside) or cooked in the curry as the curry is being made.
In any case, remember to add faster cooking vegetables later so they all get
cooked to the same degree (firm but easy to bite).

Cut top off lemongrass, remove outer leaf, mince bottom 1/3 & cut rest in >4" strips
Mince ginger

Heat oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering.
If using meat, fry the meat with curry paste (make sure the paste contains oil or
add some) and coconut cream to tenderize it.
Add minced lemongrass, minced ginger, curry paste and stir until consistent mixture

Add strips of lemongrass, wine, coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice and mix
Bring to a simmer, whisking ocassionally

Let curry simmer at least 5 min. (anything longer is fine)
If curry becomes too dry, add water, not coconut milk, as the coconut milk will make
it too thick.

A few min. before serving, discard lemongrass strips (leave a few for authenticity)
Add cilantro and basil and mix
Add veggie mixture and peas and mix
Bring to simmer

Serve over rice

Thai Chicken Soup in Coconut Milk (Tom Kha Gai)

Yields: 2 (as a main), 4 (as a soup before a main)
Prep & cook time: 45 min

3 C water (can also use chicken stock for richer taste)
4 Thai chili pepper
1 lime
1 cubic inch galangal ("kah")
2 T fish sauce
1 can coconut milk
3 sprigs cilantro
8 oz chicken
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemon grass

Put coconut milk, keffir leaves, & water into a 4 quart pot and set to boil
Slice galangal & toss in
Mince bottom 2" of lemon grass & toss in
Peel rest of lemon grass & toss in
When boiling, reduce heat to simmer and stir frequently
Slice chicken, parallel to grain, into 1/2" x 1/4" x 2" strips & toss in
When chicken is done, turn off heat
Add fish sauce, lime juice, and chopped chili pepper (for less heat don't crush
the peppers, just float them for decoration)
Taste to make sure there is proper balance of fish sauce, lime juice, and peppers
Garnish with cilantro

Sa-Cha green beans, cabbage, or other vegetables

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: 2 servings

1 lb of vegetables (cabbage or green beans are best)
meat, if desired
1 medium size onion, wedged (no more or dish will be too sweet)
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 T drained prik dong or 1 jalapeno or 2 hot thai peppers minced (Note: This produces medium heat for BJB, hot for others)
4 T sa-cha sauce (Bull Head brand)
1/2 C of chicken broth or water if using string beans (no liquid if using other veggies)
3 T soy sauce

1) Add sa-cha sauce & heat pan, then add garlic, onion & chili pepper
2) Stir well & saute until onions are translucent
3) Add vegetables:
3a) If vegetables requiring broth or water -- lower heat to medium, add veggies, cover & cook 10-15 min, stirring occasionally (the vegetables will absorb some water during cooking)
3b) If other vegetables - keep heat high, add veggies according to how fast they cook
4) About 1 min before serving, add soy sauce and taste for saltiness, sa-cha, & pepper

Pad Thai noodles

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 servings [Note: Making > 3 servings at a time will cause the noodles to stick and clump because the pan can't hold that many noodles and allow them to be stirred properly.]

6 oz dried narrow rice noodles
3 T siew (dark sweet soy sauce or 2 T dark soy & 1 T molasses or brown sugar)
2 T fish sauce (zero for NL)
1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts (don't grind too much)
1 T sugar
8 jumbo frozen uncooked shrimp (or equivalent)
1 egg scrambled with 1/4 t salt
2 cubic inches firm tofu, diced
2 t (only, no more) tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate
3 sprigs cilantro, without stems, chopped coarsely
1 c bean sprouts (in a pinch use 1 c cabbage, sliced 1/4" wide)
2" section of daikon (huah chai bpoh) peeled & sliced to 1/4" x 1/4" x 2" or 1 cup of another vegetable
2 t chili & garlic paste
2 scallions finely sliced
4 T shallot chopped (or 1 red small onion)
8 cloves garlic, chopped (not minced)
1/2 t salt
cooking oil (flavorless, like canola)

Set tofu in flat bottomed bowl just big enough to accomodate cubes, add siew & spoon liquid on top every few minutes
Hydrate noodles - see Pad Si-ew recipe
Cook the egg until slightly browned, slice into strips 1/4" x 2" & set aside
Remove seeds from tamarind, chopped well, and mix with 2 T hot water to form a paste, then mix with sugar and set aside

Stir fry:
Saute shallot/onion/garlic over medium heat until fragrant
Turn up heat all the way & grab a handful of noodles, add to saute and stir
Continue adding handfuls of noodles and stirring
When well mixed add sugar/tamarind & chili paste & stir well
If no tofu used, add 1 T of siew
When hot, dump noodle mixture on a plate, heat wok high and add a little oil
Put tofu in a colander to drain, then saute
When browned, add shrimp and daikon & any other long cooking vegetables
When shrimp are almost done dump noodle mixture back in wok
Toss in fish sauce (unless NL is eating, in which case do it at the table)
Toss in & bean spouts (or cabbage) & cook for 15 sec, then turn off heat
Add eggs and scallions and mix well
Taste for salt, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste
Pour onto a serving plate & sprinkle peanuts & cilantro on top as garnish

Pad Si-ew or See Ew (Thai Sweet Soy Sauce Noodles)

Notes: The key is high heat, quick cooking, & charring the meat, noodles, & garlic.
For 3 T dark sweet soy sauce substitute 2 T dark soy sauce & 1 T molasses (brown or white sugar won't taste right).
If using frozen shrimp, don't defrost to marinade as that will cause shrimp to be overcooked when dish is served. Instead, for step 7) below, put frozen shrimp in along with the marinade contents, but no salt.

Prep time: 1 hr
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: 2 servings [Note: Making > 3 servings at a time will cause the noodles to stick and clump because the pan can't hold that many noodles and allow them to be stirred properly.]

5 cloves garlic, minced (not squeezed thru garlic press)
1 T white wine (could use rice cooking wine)
1 T fish sauce
2 T dark sweet soy sauce ("si-ew")
1 T oyster sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt

Marinade 6 oz (1 C) thinly-sliced beef, shrimp, chicken, or tofu. If beef cut against the grain to make it less chewy. If chicken cut with the grain so it looses less water. If tofu, fry first in very hot pan and with a little oil.
Marinade for 1/2 hr or longer.

Other ingredients:
6 oz wide rice noodles
4 cloves garlic, minced (not squeezed thru press)
1 T sweet dark soy sauce
3 C broccoli florets & stems (or cabbage or Chinese broccoli)
1 T fish sauce
1 T oyster sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
2/3 C onion, chopped finely

1) Hydrate noodles (see below), then drain, add small amount of oil & coat by hand.
2) Mix garlic and onions in bowl.
3) Mix rest of ingredients except protein, noodles, broccoli, & egg in another bowl.
4) Cook the scrambled egg, then break or cut up.
5) Heat pan to highest setting, add small amount of sesame oil. Throw in the broccoli & cook but broccoli needs to remain chrunchy. Transfer to plate & set aside.
6) Keep high high, add a little more oil, & saute onion/garlic mixture, stirring constantly so garlic doesn't burn. Add noodles and stir constantly to keep from sticking & to get the charred bits of onion/garlic onto the noodles. Now add the sweet soy sauce mixture, and mix well. Transfer to the broccoli plate.
7) Set the pan back on the high heat, and dump in the protein & marinade. Spread the protein around the pan to cook & (if possible) char, then flip to the other side.
8) Throw the broccoli/noodle mixture back in the pan and stir quickly to mix.
9) Taste. If needed add fish sauce, sweet soy, salt, Thai black pepper, or vinegar.
10)Serve with prik dong (chili & vinegar).

Rice Noodle preparation:
Methods of softening noodles (all methods require enough water to cover noodles):
a) soak at room temperature for an hour or more
b) soak at body temp for 25 minutes
c) boil water & pour over noodles in a large bowl and soak for 3-7 minutes
Note: While hotter water rehydrates faster it also produces noodles that are more likely to break when stir fried.
Immediately after covering with water, use fork to shake noodles to make sure water surrounds each noodle.
While soaking, give noodles an occasional stir & check firmness frequently
Noodles are done when soft on the outside but stiff inside
When done, drain and rinse in cold water, then soak in cold water which will significantly slow the hydration process.
When ready to use, drain well & coat with tiny bit of oil to keep noodles from sticking while cooking.
When frying, Wok must be very hot to prevent noodles from sticking. If they do stick, then add a little bit of oil at a time until they don't stick any more.

Lemongrass and ginger tea

Yield: 2 mugs

1/2 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1" pieces
1/3 cubic inch ginger, sliced finely
3 c water
2 t honey (optional)

Place lemongrass and ginger in a pot with the water.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Strain and add honey if too pungent.

Pad Ga Pow (stir fried basil with chicken)

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 15 min
Yield: 2 servings

1/2 lb chicken cut to approximately 1" x 1/2" x 1/4" strips, cut with grain
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot (or 1/2 red onion), chopped
2 chopped jalapenos (if dried, rehydrate in 1/4 c hot water)
1/4 c fish sauce
1 T sugar
1.5 c basil ("ga pow") leaves (or mint leaves)
2 c broccoli (or another veggie)
2 t peppercorns (dried or not)

Optional Marinade:
2 T tapioca flour
2 T soy sauce (if molassas or sweet soy is substituted, the protein sticks together while marinading and carmelizes when cooked)
Dredge protein in tapioca flour then in shallow pan with soy sauce
Periodically spoon soy sauce over chuncks
Marinade for just 10 minutes

Chop the garlic, onions, jalapenos, and mix with peppercorns
Heat pan to highest temp & add couple splashes of oil
Add the garlic/onion mix & stir-fry until fragrant
Drain chicken, then add the rest of the ingredients according to cooking time
Make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked
Taste for fish sauce, salt, & sugar
Serve over rice

Gan bian [Sichuan dry fried] string beans

Prep time: 20
Cook time: 15
Yield: 2 servings

1.5 T peanut or cooking oil
1 t sesame oil
3/4 lb Chinese longbeans (aka yardlong or long beans) or just plain green beans and/or cabbage to make up total of 3/4 lb
1/4 lb protein (optional: can use bitter melon or eggplant. If using meat, see Techniques.txt re: cutting)
2 T brine shrimp, rinsed (optional)
6 cloves garlic, minced (increase to 10 cloves for BJB)
3/4 cubic inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced (don't use galangal; if only bottled ginger is available, use no ginger)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 t chili garlic oil paste (increase to 2 t for BJB)
3 T Sichuan preserved vegetable (radish), rinsed and minced
1 T dark soy (none if protein has been marinated in dark soy)
1 T dry sherry or rice wine (optional)

mince garlic, ginger, & radish (can use small food processor), then mix with
rinsed shrimp and chili paste
rinse beans & dry (Important: Dry thoroughly or you'll get speckled with burn marks as they fry)
snap or cut the ends off the beans, remove the string, then cut into 2" lengths
put protein in a bowl by itself (marinade in dark soy, if desired)
heat wok until it smokes, then add 1 T cooking oil (dry-fry means little oil)
When the oil smokes, toss in beans
stir & toss beans until they begin to shrivel up and get some browned spots (~7-9 min, as the water cooks out the flavor of the beans is enhanced and the texture changes from crisp to chewy and tender...cook too long and they get mushy)
about 3-4 min before the beans are done, toss in the cabbage, if any
remove bean mixture and drain in colander or on paper towels
turn heat back on full & add 1/2 T of cooking oil
When oil smokes, dump in the garlic mixture
stir until aromatic then dump in protein, if any, and cook until almost done
toss in the scallions, then toss the beans back in, drizzle in the soy sauce & wine & cook until protein is all done
salt to taste
turn off the heat, pour in the sesame oil, stir and serve

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Adapted from Rikki Carroll at Inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."
1 gallon pasteurized milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool water OR 1/4 rennet tablet diluted in 1 cup cool water
Cheese salt
Measure out all the additives before you start, in clean glass or ceramic cups. Use unchlorinated water.
Stir the milk on the stove in a stainless steel kettle, heating very gently. At 55 degrees add the citric acid solution and mix thoroughly. At 88 degrees it should begin to curdle.
Gently stir in diluted rennet with up-and-down motion, and continue heating the milk to just over 100 degrees, then turn off heat. Curds should be pulling away from sides of pot, ready to scoop out. The whey should be clear. (If it’s still milky, wait a few minutes.)
Use a large slotted spoon or ladle to move curds from pot to a 2-quart microwavable bowl. Press curds gently with hands to remove as much whey as possible, and pour it off. Microwave the curds on high for one minute, then knead the cheese again with hands or a spoon to remove more whey. (Rubber gloves help - this gets hot!) Microwave two more times (about 35 seconds each), kneading between each heating.
At this point, salt the cheese to taste, then knead and pull until it’s smooth and elastic. When you can stretch it into ropes like taffy, you are done. If the curds break instead, they need to be reheated a bit. Good stretching temperature is 175 degrees. Once cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls to eat warm or store for later in the refrigerator.

GCF salad

Prep time: 5
Cook time: 0
Yield: 3 sides

1 C - garbanzos from can or rehydrated
1/2 C - carrots, diced finely
1/4 C - feta, crumbled

Mix all and serve

Monday, February 2, 2009




Every year I get phone calls from the kids asking for this simple recipe at Purim-time. No need to call this year.

This dough recipe is very easy to make, low in fat, easy to roll out, and delicious

Beat: 3 eggs

Add: 1 cup of sugar

Mix in: ½ cup oil

4 cups of flour

4 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

juice of 1 orange

1. Roll out dough to ¼” thick

2. Cut into 3” circles

3. Fill with teaspoonful of filling of your choice

4. Fold up 3 sides of circle. Pinch ends. Flatten top gently.

5. Bake at 350 on greased cookie sheets for about 15 minutes

Makes about 40 cookies

Roasted Pumpkin & Winter Squash Soup

Make a big pot of soup and freeze individual portions to eat throughout the winter! You can really use any type of winter squash - butternut is wonderful.

1 large or two small pumpkins or winter squash
1 T olive oil
3 c sliced onion (about 2)
2 t minced garlic
4 c water or veggie broth
3/4 t salt
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground allspice
2 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400. Cut pumpkin or squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 45min - 1hr or until tender. Remove from oven and cool.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onion; saute for 8 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Scoop out flesh of pumpkin/squash an place in pot with onion mixture. Add water or stock and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth but not too smooth - I like mine a little chunky. Serve warm with a big slice of homemade bread.

Yield: 6-8 servings

"Little Potato" Song Lyrics

One of our favorite songs, first heard on WUNC (local NPR station), played by Metamora.

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground,

The world is big, so big, so very big
To you, it's new, it's new to you.

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
You're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground.

Let's talk about root crops (they dug you up),
And lamb chops (they chew on you),
And things to apples
and cheese and 'nanas and cream,
Jellies and butter,
it's late at night, I hope this little bottle helps you go to sleep.

They must have grown you wild,
you make a grown man a child,
I’ll go and play in the mud
to be with you my spud (potato).
When you came out looking red as a beet,
You had wrinkles on the bottoms of your feet!

Oh, you are so sweet potato!
You're my sweet potato,
you're my sweet potato, dug you up
You come from underground.

You smile, a smile, a little smile
The world is small, so small, it's very small

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
you're my little potato, they dug you up,
You come from underground

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,
you're my little potato!

Written by Malcolm Dalglish
Recorded on Metamora, Sugar Hill Records, SH-CD 1131